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Copeland

You Are My Sunshine

(Tooth & Nail; US: 14 Oct 2008; UK: Available as import)

When Florida’s Copeland first emerged in the new millennium, they were often referred to as Coldplay knockoffs, which really slights Aaron Marsh and his mid-tempo crew of revelers, as they didn’t create drab piano ditties; just straight-up mature pop. Yet as the years have gone on, the band has shown little growth beyond their template Brit-ballad sound, and following 2006’s forgettable Eat, Sleep, Repeat and a stop-gap rarities comp in 2007, they remerged late last year with You Are My Sunshine, a somewhat buoyant record that gets weighed down by its surprising overuse of a vocoder.  Yes, T-Pain would be jealous, but the use of the famed voice modulator distracts from the solid songs that Marsh has crafted, most of which bleed together over the course of the disc, but—when isolated outside of the context of the album—they exhibit real potential. 


The best of the bunch is “On the Safest Ledge”, a simple stunner with a rising pre-chorus crescendo that outstrips the 10+ minute closing ballad “Not So Tough Found Out” in a heartbeat. Though Sunshine is a perfectly fine if unremarkable record by itself, there are no genuine moments of fun to be seen or even stylistic detours to be had, as the band gets too caught up in their own sense of self-importance. Though the warmer keyboard tones do show slight signs of textural evolution, a full-scale songwriting overhaul will be needed if the band wants to remain relevant in the future, because—right now—being their same-old generic selves just isn’t working out.

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Evan Sawdey started contributing to PopMatters in late 2005, and has also had his work featured in publications such as SLUG Magazine, The Metro (U.K.), Soundvenue Magazine (Denmark), the Daily Dot, and many more. Evan has been a guest on HuffPost Live, RevotTV's "Revolt Live!", and WNYC's Soundcheck (an NPR affiliate), was the Executive Producer for the Good With Words: A Tribute to Benjamin Durdle album, and wrote the liner notes for the 2011 re-release of Andre Cymone's hit 1985 album A.C. (Big Break Records), the 2012 re-release of 'Til Tuesday's 1985 debut Voices Carry (Hot Shot Records), and many others. He currently resides in Chicago, Illinois. You can follow him @SawdEye should you be so inclined.


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